10 December 2012

South Africa: SABC Politicking - DA Writes to Icasa to Broaden Investigation

press release

The DA will ask the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to broaden the scope of their investigation into last week's Metro FM debate cancellation debacle, to include the increasingly widespread accusations of political interference in terms of the content of SABC radio and television programmes that have emerged over the past few days.

The litany of incidents now include:

• A purported joint letter by "concerned SABC journalists, produces and presenters" citing that:

- Shows have been "canned" after hosts announced the content to listeners or viewers and the intended guests had arrived.

- Political reporters and analysts have been removed from their jobs without adequate reason being given or due process being followed (this includes the removal of senior political reporter Sophie Mokoena from the political desk and the message from the SABC management that she would not be covering the ANC's Mangaung conference).

- Reporters taken to task for not airing enough visual footage of President Zuma.

- Current affairs producers and presenters being warned that they are too negative about government and not defending President Zuma enough.

- Stories involving former ANCYL president Julius Malema that have not made it to air.

• SAFM presenter Siki Mgabadeli being told to pull a slot in her show for reasons similar to the Metro FM show cancellation.

• The insistence that the terms 'Nkandlagate' and 'compound' not be used to describe President Zuma's luxurious rural enclave.

• The banning of the Fish and Chip Company's television advert that featured the President.

The DA has already commended ICASA's prompt decision to investigate the SABC's Metro FM cancellation. We have called on ICASA to release the details of the scope of their investigation. If we are unsatisfied with the scope, we may submit our own complaint.

It is important that the growing body of evidence of political interference is considered in full.

We trust that given the extent of the accusations and most recent events regarding the SABC's politically motivated decisions, ICASA will heed our call to expand their investigation to cover these incidents

Marian Shinn, Shadow Minister of Communications

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